Chasing the Solar Eclipse

This was an extended weekend trip to South Carolina for watching the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse. We planned this trip a bit late and didn't really find a good place to stay close to the path of totality. In the end we settled on Kings Mountain state park, where we met up with the North Carolina delegation of the family and camped there for three nights.

After briefly exploring the Kings Mountain SP and its historical farm on Saturday, we went for a hike up "The Pinnacle" in Crowders Mountain state park, just across the border in North Carolina. It had a distant view of Charlotte and plenty of turkey vultures circling it.

Then came Monday, the day of the eclipse. After constantly checking the weather forecast and pouring over the map for a good watching spot, I found the River Forks Recreation Area in Anderson, SC. The chances to avoid clouds seemed reasonable, and there was an open view across a lake where the sun would be easy to watch.

I came fully prepared with a 800mm lens, a 1.4x extender (bringing the effective focal length to 1120mm) and a solar filter. My plan was to use this setup for photographing the corona during the time of totality. However, the weather didn't quite cooperate: less than a minute before the moon totally obscured the sun, a cloud moved in and was hiding the spectacle...

Even though sun and moon were hidden from view, the effects of the totality were very obvious and quite a thrill: a cold breeze moved in and it got dark like the night, with a kind of sunset/sunrise effect on the horizon.

We drove back in heavy traffic first to Greenville, SC for dinner and then to the campsite. The next morning we had some time to explore the Kings Mountain National Military Park. It turns out this was the site of an important battle of the revolutionary war in 1780.

P.S.: All photos were taken with various Canon 35mm film cameras on Kodak Portra 400 color negative film or Ilford FP4+ black & white film.